The Setup – Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500
By Tyler Miller

Atlanta Motor Speedway will host the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 on Sunday afternoon. Atlanta is an intermediate (1.5 mile) race track with one race per season. Last year Brad Keselowski won by 0.218 seconds over Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer. The race surface at Atlanta will be in the spotlight this weekend as tire management will become a key issue, particularly in a 500 mile race. High tire wear will dictate four tire pit stops at every caution, limiting pit road strategy and putting a premium on the fastest cars throughout and entire green flag run. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 325 laps (500.5 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 105, Stage 2 ends on lap 210.
Lineup Lock 2:00 pm eastern Sunday
2019 Winner Brad Keselowski (Started 19th)
2019 Pole Sitter Aric Almirola (Finished 8th)
Past Winners: (Starting Position)
2018: Kevin Harvick (3rd)
2017: Brad Keselowski (5th)
2016: Jimmie Johnson (19th)
2015: Jimmie Johnson (37th)

Phoenix Recap
What went right?

Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski were all written up in Victory Lane last weekend. Those drivers finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th in Fan Duel scoring respectively. William Byron and Jimmie Johnson performed as expected, finished 10th and 11th in Fan Duel scoring. Ty Dillon was a great value playing scoring the 13th most points on Fan Duel, finishing the race 15th with +10 differential.

Phoenix was an example of having the right drivers written up but playing the wrong combination. While I was correct in my assessment of the top tier drivers, I played the wrong value drivers and failed to cash.

What went wrong?
Tyler Reddick looked so good for so much of the race but ended up slamming the wall and finishing the race 33rd. Austin Dillon had issues early and finished the race 36th. Since both of those drivers started near the back of the pack, playing a single one of them in cash games would not have been devastating, but playing both drivers in the same lineup was a total failure. At the top, I played Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, had I played Logano and Keselowski, or Logano and Busch, or Harvick and Logano or Busch I would have been much better off. I knew I was going to play Kyle Busch, Keselowski, and Reddick, my decision was between matching them with Byron/Austin Dillon or with Logano/Ty Dillon. I played Byron and Austin Dillon and that was the wrong move. My Fan Duel lineup scored 257.8, failing to cash.
Had I played Logano and Ty Dillon with my core I would have scored 326 and cashed in nearly every contest I entered.

My Draft Kings lineup also failed due to playing Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick together. My DK lineup included Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Reddick, and Chastain which scored 205.5. On to next week.

What to watch for in practice and qualifying:
Who’s dominant? Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson have the highest driver rating at Atlanta but Brad Keselowski won last year and Joey Logano has won 2 of 4 races so far this season. Who shows the most speed through practice and qualifying this weekend?

Does the Hendrick momentum continue? Alex Bowman had a strong car at both Las Vegas and Auto Club earlier this year. Now that we are back at an intermediate track, will Bowman, Elliott, Johnson, and Byron have strong cars at Atlanta?

Where are the Toyotas? Are we confident that Busch, Hamlin, and Truex will have fast cars this weekend? Will they be able to pass inspection? What about Erik Jones and Christopher Bell? Accurately determining where the Toyotas stand within the broad scope of this weekend’s race will be critical.

What about Larson? Kyle Larson led 142 laps at Atlanta last year before finishing 12th. In 6 career races he has 1 top 5 and 3 top 10 finishes. Larson has led 149 laps, 7.6% of his total laps run at Atlanta (4th best percentage behind Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Jimmie Johnson). Does Larson have a fast car this weekend and can he be trusted to run a clean race for 500 miles?

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via Penn National Gaming)
Kevin Harvick is the favorite for this weekend’s race. Alex Bowman moves up the list at 11-1 following his win at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago.

Kevin Harvick 9-2
Kyle Busch 13-2
Joey Logano 13-2
Brad Keselowski 7-1
Chase Elliott 8-1
Martin Truex Jr. 10-1
Alex Bowman 11-1
Ryan Blaney 12-1
Denny Hamlin 12-1
Kyle Larson 14-1
Kurt Busch 20-1
Jimmie Johnson 20-1

Driver Ratings Atlanta:
1. Kevin Harvick 100.5
2. Jimmie Johnson 100.5
3. Kurt Busch 96.9
4. Brad Keselowski 96.6
5. Martin Truex Jr. 95.2
6. Denny Hamlin 94.2
7. Kyle Busch 92.7
8. Kyle Larson 90.2
9. Chase Elliott 89.2
10. Joey Logano 83.2
11. Clint Bowyer 82.6
12. Erik Jones 80.1
13. Ryan Blaney 78.9
14. Ryan Newman 78.3
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 76.6

Average Running Position:
1. Brad Keselowski 10.344
2. Jimmie Johnson 10.467
3. Chase Elliott 10.565
4. Martin Truex Jr. 10.581
5. Kevin Harvick 11.809
6. Kyle Larson 12.008
7. Denny Hamlin 12.195
8. Kurt Busch 12.802
9. Kyle Busch 13.129
10. Erik Jones 13.718
11. Ryan Blaney 14.395
12. Joey Logano 16.154
13. Daniel Suarez 16.342
14. Clint Bowyer 16.450
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 16.782

Laps Led
1. Kevin Harvick 1138 (16.6% of all laps run)
2. Kurt Busch 656 (10.0)
3. Jimmie Johnson 566 (8.2)
4. Kyle Busch 432 (6.6)
5. Denny Hamlin 391 (6.0)
6. Martin Truex Jr. 286 (4.4)
7. Joey Logano 185 (4.3)
8. Kyle Larson 149 (7.6)
9. Brad Keselowski 130 (3.6)
10. Clint Bowyer 115 (1.8)

2019 Top 10
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kurt Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kyle Busch
7. Erik Jones
8. Aric Almirola
9. Chris Buescher
10. Daniel Suarez

2018 Top 10
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Joey Logano
7. Kyle Busch
8. Kurt Busch
9. Kyle Larson
10. Chase Elliott

2017 Top 10
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Kyle Larson
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Chase Elliott
6. Joey Logano
7. Kurt Busch
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Jamie McMurray

Stay Tuned for updated content Saturday night.

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